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Interviews

VALÉRIEN ISMAËL PRE-BLACKBURN

27 November 2020

Ahead of our game against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, Valérien Ismaël has confirmed that full-back Jordan Williams will be unavailable as he continues his recovery from injury.

Fellow defender, Aapo Halme, is also a doubt for Barnsley’s Sky Bet Championship trip to Ewood Park, although the Finn will undergo a late fitness test.

“Jordan Williams will be out,” began Ismaël. “With Aapo, we want to make one last try but we think he might be back for Birmingham. There is a good feeling in the squad and we have time to prepare for the game at Blackburn.”

Following the government announcement that supporters will be allowed back in stadia up and down the country in Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas, the Reds’ Head Coach believes it is a step in the right direction.

Although there won’t be any fans at Oakwell just yet, Ismaël has asserted the importance of staying positive and is hopeful that supporters will be back on Grove Street in the not-too-distant future.

“It was a very positive step and positive signal for everyone,” continued the Frenchman. “We have a lot of games in December – four games at home – and we won’t have the chance to play with our fans and this is sad.

“We need to be positive, stay this way all together and, hopefully, in the middle of December, all of our efforts will help the government make a decision for the region.”

Barnsley travel to Ewood Park in decent form and currently sit 14th in the table – two points and two places below our hosts this weekend.

With 25 goals, Rovers are the division’s top scorers and, in Adam Armstrong have a striker in the middle of a purple patch. The former Reds loanee has netted 12 times already this term, but Ismaël insists his focus is on the entire team, not just one player.

“It’s always the same when you play against your former club – you want to do your best,” admitted our Head Coach. “He’s a very good player, like a lot of players in the Championship. But we have to focus on the transition game.

“They are a very good team with a very clear philosophy to play football. We have to be aware of this transition game. This is the first big quality from the squad with balls in behind.

“This is a very good challenge for my team to deal with the strength of the opponent, but we have our strength and quality to score and this is what we have to do. We have to find a balance out of possession and be clinical and finish quickly.”

You can watch Valérien’s press conference on iFollow Barnsley.


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